Corporate yoga

In the last 20 years I have been extremely blessed to work in and out of India through technology.  I have worked with some of the most talented and ambitious people through this exchange.  I have helped start or invested in Indian companies to working with thought leaders and technology practitioners in America, the culture and dedication of these great people always impressed me.  Through this vibrant exchange and my own personal association with Yoga and Eastern Mythology I started to see parallels and similarities for business.

While not an exact translation, there are many aspects that do translate well.  Corporate culture and individual contribution have largely been ignored in the relentless pursuit of corporate efficiency.  Variance is the enemy of scale and efficiency.  It is often simpler to make a corporate culture that values conformity in an effort to reduce variance.  The race to a bottom line often leaves no room for training the leaders in corporate culture when the real pursuit is ruthless efficiency.

While lecturing a U.C. Berkeley on “letting go to grow”, I found that many of the lessons must be crafted into a built into a culture.  From top to bottom the idea of letting go is a function often left to the end.  We struggle to form our products, brand, and management with a tight grip forcing conformity and stamping out variance.  We are trained that this method of execution will bring focus and success quickly.  We don’t think of the corporate “debt” we are building and might not ever be able to repay.

So how to we build a system that is both simple to understand, easy to execute, and fundamentally build a culture that is debt free?  It has to start with a single individual.  One that passes this knowledge and skill to another, through leadership, behavior, and training.  We have to execute our values with ruthless efficiency, yet with compassion.  That ironically leads me back to India where my understanding of Yoga and the rules of harmony pervade the culture.  Where individuals who are Masters of Yoga live and train followers every day in what is a multi-billion dollar global enterprise.  A loose set of rules that govern every practitioner to become a Master and so on and so on.  That prompted me to adapt my thinking and teaching of a Yoga principle from letting go to creating this binding from individual based morality to corporate culture building.

It’s a concept today that I hope to build into a practice tomorrow.  Laying out the similarities here while building the common functionality later for collaboration in keeping the basic ideals.  May my friends and colleges work with me in this effort.  I will be publishing this concept on my blog and in lectures.  I will be publishing it under CopyLeft process in a hope that the vision will take hold and prosper.  Yoga has a long and prosperous tradition of success where it’s practitioners become its masters.  Who wouldn’t want this for corporate management?  What process would not be better served by the student becoming the teacher?  What corporate culture can be created if we all work to empower our employees to be aware of the corporate culture on a first name basis?  As each of us is the corporate culture, so we are its teacher.

The practice of corporate yoga is an art and science dedicated to creating union between corporate personhood (the body), thought leadership (mind) and corporate culture (spirit). Its objective is to assist the every employee in using these lessons to foster an awareness of we can contribute to a flexible and responsive corporate environment. In short it is about making balance and creating equanimity so as to grow and thrive a business.  Unifying personal innovation to a greater whole. This art of good governance needs to be perfected and practiced.  In India thousands of years ago and the foundations of yoga philosophy were written down in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, approximately 200 AD. This sacred text describes the inner workings of the mind but does not address the collective of human innovation.  More over, it has not been abstracted into a corporate culture, where it can teach us how our corporate culture can improve by similar lessons.

The core of good abstractions needs a structural framework.  Yoga practice focuses on eight limbs.  Yoga is a flat system of management where the path it becomes self-evident and that no one element is elevated over another in a hierarchical order. Each is part of a holistic focus, which eventually brings completeness to the individual as they find their connectivity to the divine. Because we are all uniquely individual a person can emphasize one branch and then move on to another as they round out their understanding.  So, how can we apply such a framework to business through abstraction?

Corporate Yoga practice focuses on the rule of three.  Corporations are hierarchical systems of management where the path is directed and that personal responsibility is elevated over another in a hierarchical order. Each is part of a holistic focus should bring completeness to the corporate culture as each individual finds their connectivity to the mission. Because we are all uniquely individual a person can emphasize special skills and contributions and then move on to another as we round out our understanding.  Through this abstraction we can approximate our relationship to Corporate Yoga.  While classic Yoga focuses on eight arms, we need to focus on three rules.  The rule of three is much more management and actionable in the corporate context.

I have aligned the eight key rules, or steps to corporate yoga to the standard words of personal Yoga.  In time I would hope we can develop better words for each that reduces the resistance of business leaders to discuss topics like Yoga in the workplace.   They are as follows:

  1. Yama:           Responsibility with compassion
  2. Niyama:        Execution excellence
  3. Asanas:        Body postures
  4. Pranayama: Flow control of business processes
  5. Pratyahara:  Control of the data
  6. Dharana:       Self checks and balances
  7. Dhyana:         Strong oversight
  8. Samadhi:       Market alignment

       Alpha is the suggestion given on how we should deal with people around us and our attitude toward ourselves. The attitude we have toward things and people outside ourselves is Yoga is yama, how we relate to ourselves inwardly is niyama. Both are mostly concerned with how we use our energy in relationship to others and to ourselves.  This in the Corporate Yoga is trust and verify.

In Yoga the yamas are broken down into five “wise characteristics.” Rather than a list of dos and don’ts, “they tell us that our fundamental nature is compassionate, generous, honest and peaceful.”  That being said, corporations are people acting out roles in the corporate culture.  Here I have taken the core aspects of the Yamas and adapted them as follows:

I. Yama (responsibility with compassion)

1. Ahimsa – Compassion for others as we all make mistakes

Get along and go along where ever possible.  Ahimsa is, however, more than just lack of violence as adapted from the yoga definition. It means kindness, friendliness, and thoughtful consideration of other people and things. It also has to do with our duties and responsibilities too. Ahimsa implies that in every situation we should adopt a considerate attitude and do no harm or cast the first stone from our glass house.  This is hard to do in a corporation as blame is always at hand.  And sometimes for good reason.  Responsibility is nothing with out consequences.  But corporate vigilantly justice is not the solution even though it is the common practice.

2. Satya – Fact based analysis

Satya means “to speak the truth,” yet it is not always desirable to speak the truth on all occasions, for it could harm someone unnecessarily. We have to consider what we say, how we say it, and in what way it could affect others. If speaking the truth has negative consequences for another, then it is better to say nothing while finding ways to communicate within the proper management structure. Satya should never come into conflict with our efforts to behave with ahimsa. This precept is based on the understanding that honest communication and action form the bedrock of any healthy relationship, community, or government, and that deliberate deception, exaggerations, and mistruths harm others.   While this is almost an exact extract of the Yoga principle, it does fit well as a corporate abstraction.  The best way to empower this aspect is through fact based reasoning.  Leaving the Yoga notion of “truth” out of the equation as it’s a biased and difficult definition in business.  A business can do much better to see fact based processes operate like Satya allowing individuals to embody it’s findings.

3. Asteya – Honest creation  

Of all the Yamas this is the most direct application to corporate Yoga.  Steya means “to steal”; asteya is the opposite-to take nothing that does not belong to us.  This also means that if we are in a situation where someone entrusts something to us or confides in us, we do not take advantage of him or her. Non-stealing includes not only taking what belongs to another without permission, but also using something for a different purpose to that intended, or beyond the time permitted by its owner.iii   The practice of asteya implies not taking anything that has not been freely given. This includes fostering a consciousness of how we ask for others’ time for inconsiderate behavior demanding another’s attention when not freely given is, in effect, stealing.  If corporations are to struggle with anything, it is this lesson.  Internally we should all agree this is a great aspiration.  Externally we would find this in direct contradiction to standard business practices.  Where intellectual property rules and market acquisition often results in some form of Asteya… or stealing.  Resolving these complex issues within a corporation and it’s culture represent an intense and challenge and should not be taken lightly by leaders.

4. Brahmacharya – Self control and best practices  

Brahmacharya is the most difficult to apply to corporate culture.  Mostly used to describe a sense of abstinence, particularly in relationship to sexual activity, it’s not ideal for corporate discussions.  On the other hand, by using some aspects of Brahmacharya we can form relationships that foster our understanding of the highest best practices. Brahmacharya does not necessarily imply celibacy. Rather, it means responsible behavior with respect to our goal of moving toward the operational “truth”. Practicing brahmacharya means that we use our creative energy to regenerate our connection corporate research and industries best practices. It also means that we don’t use this energy in any way that might harm others in the pursuit of corporate wealth.  Again, this is a challenge that is hard to reconcile in corporate cultures.  It is for each leader to understand this issue and work with it, not ignore it.

5. Aparigraha – Responsible growth – and letting go.

Aparigraha means to take only what is necessary, and not to take advantage of a situation or act greedy. We should only take what we have earned; if we take more, we are exploiting someone else. Many managers I have interviewed see this one aspect difficult to manage.  The traditional yogi feels that the collection or hoarding of things implies a lack of faith in God and in himself to provide for his future, while a business leader is obligated to his stakeholders and investors to just that.  Corporate culture needs to appreciate how Aparigraha can guide us in letting go of our attachments to things and develop an understanding that impermanence and change are the only constants.  This fundamental teaching has been the core of my success and ability to transition and grow in my career.  It is the reason corporations that have pivoted are successful, and why some companies not what they were when founded.  Change is constant, but that is variance, which we are trained to reduce in our efficiency.  If there is but one goal, it would be learn this one wise characteristic and excel in letting go.

       The Yoga Sutra describes what happens when these five behaviors outlined above become part of a person’s daily life. The task now is to convert and apply these virtues which, if attended to, can start to build a corporate culture and contribute to health and bottom line of a success business.

II. Beta (Execution Excellence)

       Niyama means “rules” or “laws.”  These are the rules prescribed for personal observance. Like the yamas, the five niyamas are not exercises or actions to be simply studied. They represent far more than an attitude. Compared with the yamas, the niyamas are more intimate and personal. They refer to the attitude we adopt toward ourselves as we create a code for living soulfully

1. Sauca – Good governance  

The first niyama is sauca, meaning purity and cleanliness.  While this is a good personal trait, a corporation is hard to cast in these terms.  But, there is an analogy.  It is governance.   Sauca has both an inner and an outer aspect. Outer governance simply means keeping our presentation and public relations in tact.  Focusing on our daily leave behinds that every individual represents the corporate brand when representing the corporation. Inner governance has as much to do with the healthy, free flowing ideas that power our departments and groups with clarity and mindfulness of the corporate mission. Practicing these ideas in every meeting, action and deed is essential corporate cultures to foster this inner sauca.  Treating these lessons like exercises tone the culture, or corporate body, and removes bad actors while keeping the operations of the company focuses and execution oriented. “More important than forcing process to clean and refine the the culture it should be the mission to train each employee to contribute to the cleansing of the mind of its disturbing emotions like hatred, passion, anger, lust, greed, delusion and pride.”  Only by empowering employees to work against these forces while building a good culture can we strive to make the corporate growth happen.  You can not legislate letting go.  You have to train it into the culture so it happens naturally.

2. Santosa – Calm execution

Santosa is often associated with modesty and the feeling of being content with what we have. To be at peace within and content with one’s lifestyle finding contentment even while experiencing life’s difficulties for life becomes a process of growth through all kinds of circumstances. We should accept that there is a purpose for everything – yoga calls it karma – and we cultivate contentment ‘to accept what happens’. It means being happy with what we have rather than being unhappy about what we don’t have.  Now, this is one of those concepts that is so easy to say and so hard to practice.  It is the corporate mandate to want more by the quarter.  Growth and change are constant.  How do you reconcile this one aspect which so many agree on personally into a corporate culture?  Of course, the fear is that you make the culture lazy and complacent.  That would be the wrong assessment of this section.  Calm execution is taking this simple concept and applying it each employee being empowered to take a breath in execution of corporate growth and acquisition.  The key phrase here is, “through all kinds of circumstances”.  We need to empower our individuals to take this power of letting go, and allow them to let go of the feelings associated with challenge and competition .  Allowing them to let go of position and responsibility through training and growth that is more like a relay race and less like a 100M sprint.

3. Tapas – Measured execution

Tapas refers to the activity of keeping the body fit.  Literally it means to heat the body and, by so doing, to cleanse it. Behind the notion of tapas lies the idea we can direct our energy to enthusiastically engage in corporate culture building. Tapas should guide us to be energetic, almost frenetic in our approach to daily management.  Tapas is often associated with what we eat.  I would propose we shift this corporate idea of Tapas paying attention to what we read and take in as business process. Attention to our corporate posture, attention to policies and training, attention to how we move and organize within the company – these are all tapas if turned to thing about corporations as energizing each and every employee in the pursuit of measured but energetic execution.

4. Svadhyaya – Training as a personal mandate

The fourth niyama is svadhyaya. Sva means “self’ adhyaya means “inquiry” or “examination”.  Corporate cultures should actively cultivate self-education.  This trend has come and gone in corporate cultures in the past.  Some still drive it into the consciousness which would be similar to svadhyaya in Yoga. It means to intentionally find self-awareness in all our activities and efforts.  Can we make that a corporate mandate on continued education?  Even to the point of welcoming and accepting our limitations and finding ways to express that without recriminations or reprisals?  It teaches us to be centered and non-reactive to the dualities, to burn out unwanted and self-destructive tendencies by helping the company grow and identifying how that would benefit individuals as well as departments.

5. Isvarapranidhana – Best practices

Isvarapranidhana means “to lay all your actions at the feet of God.” which makes it the hardest thing to translate into a corporate culture.   So I am punting on this one!  I am going to align the contemplation on God (Isvara) to be what I often heard in reverence as “Best Practices”.  The houses of whorship in America are Harvard (HBR) and Stanford.   In order to become attuned to best practices is a mantra that is often weak on execution.  It’s often like a holly grail that is just out of reach.  Referred to as a touch stone when we don’t have the answers readily available.  While the strict meaning of Isvarapranidhana is the recognition that the spiritual suffuses everything and through our attention and care we can attune ourselves with our role as part of the Creator.  This is a lofty and almost unattainable goal for corporate cultures, or worse a prescription for dictator managers to demand service from employees, that should not be the translation we seek.  I would advise our understanding to be a willingness to seek out and use best practices at all levels.  To improve and refine our business functions within a company by looking for best practices as a process vs. a reactionary action that often comes to late in the process.  Letting go of the assumptions that what we do is what we should keep doing in favor of finding Isvarapranidhana in best practices.

III. Asanas (Training people in execution)

       Asana is the practice of physical postures.  In a corporation this would be how we interact and have meetings with others.  It is the most commonly known aspect of yoga for those unfamiliar with the other seven limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra.  The practice of moving the body into postures has widespread benefits; of these the most underlying are improved health, strength, balance and flexibility. On a deeper level the practice of asana, which means “staying” or “abiding” in Sanskrit, is used as a tool to calm the mind and move into the inner essence of being. The challenge of poses offers the practitioner the opportunity to explore and control all aspects of their emotions, concentration, intent, faith, and unity between the physical and the ethereal body. Indeed, using asanas to challenge and open the physical body acts as a binding agent to bring one in harmony with all the unseen elements of their being, the forces that shape our lives through our responses to the physical world. Asana then becomes a way of exploring our mental attitudes and strengthening our will as we learn to release and move into the state of grace that comes from creating balance between our material world and spiritual experience.

Wow, that is a mouthful and most likely raising all sorts of corporate hairs on the back of your neck.  So, let’s try and break this down into some corporate languages and behaviors that strip out the more risky aspects into some transactional objectives.

First, let’s think of people as the limbs.  Each being a part in the body politic that allows us to form into shapes and postures.  These shapes and postures should allow us as a departments or groups to be more flexible, strong and balanced.  This would give us some more flexibility and and a much deeper ability to justify what we do in meetings and interactions.  Much like we look at our bodies in the goal of managing asana, we could abstract our corporate culture into responsible roles and responsibilities that allow us to take hold of tasks and duties to the greater good of the corporate culture and body.  Whew – bit high handed I know, but stick with me.    Think of this as a tool to calm meetings and remain focused on key performance metrics (KPI’s).  So, as it turns out, that starts to align pretty well with the intent of this translation.  Allowing each person evolve a complete understanding as individuals while exploring and controlling all aspects of their emotions, concentration, intent, faith, in a unity between the daily tasks and the best practices of the corporate KPI’s, (AKA body).  In other words; things happen to us and around us in a corporation like the world at large.  Our ability to shape that is limited but our ability to control our reactions is unlimited.  Asana then becomes a way of exploring our mental attitudes and strengthening our will to adapt and learn while letting go of those things we can’t change in favor of controlling the things we can change.  This reduces the conflict between our daily transactional world and corporate culture we are trying to help shape.  This experience ties our corporate Asana to that detailed above on our personal Asana.

As one practices this kind asana in a corporate context it fosters a quieting of the mind, preparing us for listening and an openness sufficient in and of itself to help create the corporate culture as an individual contributor.  Letting go to the energy of others and inner strength that one develops brings about a profound grounding in the corporate culture.  The physicality of the yoga postures becomes a vehicle to expand the consciousness that pervades a persons body.  The challenge will be to enable each each person in a department, meeting or interaction to see themselves as a key part in the body of corporate culture.  The key to fostering this expansion of awareness and consciousness begins with the strong leadership.

This brings us to what is often called the fourth limb – Pranayama. Patanjali suggests that the asana and the pranayama practices will bring about the desired state of good corporate governance and culture.  Controlling timing and association of groups lead to the pace and timing of how our corporate structures act like the body of a person.  If a leader can see this as a posture that will harmonize the flow of energy in the company, they will create fertile environment for the evolution of the corporate culture.    Grounding this in a down-to-earth, flesh-and-bones practice is simply one of the most direct and expedient ways to lead companies and yourself.   As in yoga, practicing this method would allow individuals to reengage with the company as one is self aware of the corporate body.  In reattaching ourselves to this corporate culture we reattach ourselves to the responsibility of acting within the constraints and guided by the undeniable wisdom of our culture.  B.K.S. Iyengar adds: “The needs of the body are the needs of the divine spirit which lives through the body. The yogi does not look heaven-ward to find God for he know that He is within.”  It might be a direct translation to business if we call God best practices and knowing them within as self directed action.

IV. Pranayama (Flow Control)

       Pranayama is the measuring, control, and directing of the breath. Pranayama controls the energy (prana) within the organism, in order to restore and maintain health and to promote evolution. When the in-flowing breath is neutralized or joined with the out-flowing breath, then perfect relaxation and balance of body activities are realized. In yoga, we are concerned with balancing the flows of vital forces, then directing them inward to the chakra system and upward to the crown chakra.

Translating suck concepts as Pranayama, or breathing technique, is very important in yoga and rather an easy abstraction in business.  It goes hand in hand with the asana or pose. Here we need to take a rather clear and unambiguous approach.  Simply put, set up your business and the processes to regulate when and how things enter the business and exit the business.   If your business process seems hurried and ill prepared, you have identified bad breath control.  Change the way your company interacts with the customer as you would breath.  A calm and regulated approach where ever possible.  Sure, it’s hard and might seem to abstract to be possible.  But if a great leader can see his business as a breathing living entity and it is choking on it’s customer interactions, then it surly can’t live long and grow.  Steady your business processes and allow them to set the pace of intake and output to as smooth an operation as possible.

V. Pratyahara (Control of the data)

       Pratyahara means drawing back or retreat. The word ahara means “nourishment”; pratyahara translates as “to withdraw oneself from that which nourishes the senses.” In yoga, the term pratyahara implies withdrawal of the senses from attachment to external objects. It can then be seen in the context of business as practice of non-attachment to assumed data points that are embeded in details.  Abstractions that allow us to surface macro trends and more introspection about the business eliminate the distractions as we constantly return to the path of self evaluation and achievement of corporate constancy.  It means to stop driving our business off the things that stimulate and cause knee jerk reactions; building business models and abstractions that reduce the impact of data stimulants allowing management and then individuals to stop feeding point driven solutions and taking a more calculated and sound response.

In pratyahara you want to sever this link between details and KPI’s in a productive way.  Allowing for clearer long term management. When the data triggers are no longer responding to every small sources, the result is restraint or pratyahara. Now that the vital forces are flowing back to the executive team with a clear and measured tool set, one can concentrate without being distracted by spikes and falls within the daily operation.  This is not to say you forget them, it’s that you have a process for response that is calibrated to the cause.

Pratyahara occurs almost automatically when we design systems in this way, we are so attuned to the  in the object calling for our focus that we can measure it more accurately. Precisely because the teams are so focused, the data follow; it stops happening the other way around.

No longer functioning in their usual manner, the data objects become extraordinarily sharp. Normal corporate systems and circumstances allow random events to become our masters rather than being our tools. The detailed data entice us to develop ever more input and micro level measurements.  Using the idea of pratyahara the opposite occurs: when we have to look at the details of a given event, we focus on them, but not because we have a desire for the data and feel compelled to act on that. Using this technique we start to put the data object in their proper place, but not cut them out of our actions.  This allows them and the organization to properly align it’s reporting and reactions.

Much of our organizational imbalance is our own creation.   Companies and leaders who let details and events drive corporate culture and behavior become a victim to its needs.  This is because every individual, regardless of role or title, waste hours of mental and physical energy in trying to suppress unwanted events and data and to show off the good and avoid the bad. This will eventually result in a data then bottom line financial imbalance, and will, in most instances, result in the company pivoting for the worse.  While this is a natural cycle, the goal is to lesson the impact of each cycle as you would with your breathing in the true Yoga form of this lesson.

As Patanjali says that the above process is at the root of human unhappiness and uneasiness so goes corporate culture.  When people seek out yoga, hoping to find that inner peace which is so evasive, they find that it was theirs all along. In a sense, yoga is nothing more than a process which enables us to stop and look at the processes of our own minds; only in this way can we understand the nature of happiness and unhappiness, and thus transcend them both.  Does that sound like what you would find in a data driven organization?  One that lends itself to setting up a culture of individuals that generate better listening to the data and how it related to the health of the company rather than forcing behaviors on individuals?

VI. Dharana (Self checks check’s and balances)

       Dharana means “immovable concentration of the mind”. The essential idea is to hold the concentration or focus of attention in one direction.  “When the body has been tempered by asanas, when the mind has been refined by the fire of pranayama and when the senses have been brought under control by pratyahara, the sadhaka (seeker) reaches the sixth stage, dharana. Here he is concentrated wholly on a single point or on a task in which he is completely engrossed. The mind has to be stilled in order to achieve this state of complete absorption.”

Now the challenge.  Can one make Dharana to create the conditions for the company to focus its attention in one direction instead of going out in many different directions on demand.  Bring innovations into focus while keeping execution excellence on revenue generation?  Building a culture where contemplation and reflection can create the right conditions, and the focus on strategic objectives?  Corporations and leaders of them have to focus on many things in parallel to be a success.  But they have to know when to let go of one to hold on to another.   Leading on this one point allows us to become more intense when the metrics show we should.  We need to think about encouraging this particular activity in our corporate culture.  The more we intense it becomes, the more the other activities that distract our success will fall away.

The objective is a steady the culture by focusing its attention upon some stable KPI’s. We need to have a strong culture that allows us to let go of the details and form a strong will to grab onto opportunity.  Eliminating variance where apllicalbe and exploring variance when optimal.   Stop wandering through random data points, and bad business practices while being very deliberate in our pursuit of innovations.  Don’t be focused single-mindedly upon some apparently vital data object and lose the forest for the trees.

When the culture has become clear and focused on these better business practices, it is much like an individual who has been informed by yoga practices.  The culture becomes able to focus efficiently on one subject or point of experience. Only then can it unleash the great potential for inner focus and improvements that unlock competitive advantages.

VII. Dhyana (Strong oversight)

       Dhyana means a few things in Yoga but here I will define it as perfect contemplation and self governance.  It involves concentration upon a point of focus with the intention of knowing finding the best practices about it. The concept holds that when one focuses groups and the supporting data in review of the data, the culture is transformed into the best structure to maximize outcomes. Hence, when one focuses on the best practice from outside, or that is data driven from inside, the company becomes self actuated.  The culture knows it’s true nature. The trick is to provide the best possible feedback loops through solid management.

Facilitation of dhyana in the corporate context means that you need to unify or combine clear insights into distinctions between data objects and between the strategic layers that drive corporate execution.  Learning to differentiate between the tactical mind of the strategic mind, means we need to have a clear ability to create and drive perceptions.  It’s a clear feedback loop.

As we fine-tune our organization to become more aware of the KPI’s and strategic alignment, it will self adjust to this reality we want.   This state of freedom, or Moksha, as detailed in Yoga allows the company to let go of what holds it back and grab on to it’s potential and opportunities.  As this is the goal of Yoga to a person, it is the goal of Corporate Yoga to it’s culture.  It can be reached by constant alignment into the definition tactical and strategic goals.  Better aligned KPI’s  become our tool to see things clearly and perceive reality beyond the illusions that data details obscure in our daily business

VIII. Samadhi (Market alignment)

       The final step in the eight-fold path of Yoga is the attainment of Samadhi. Samadhi means “to bring together, to merge.” In the state of samadhi the body and senses are at rest, as if asleep, yet the faculty of mind and reason are alert, as if awake; one goes beyond consciousness.  Ok, still with me?  I know that by now a normal business leader is thinking, am I done already?  What’s the point.  Some false almost un-attainable state of being where my company is on autopilot?

In a phrase – stick with me.

During samadhi, a Yoga practitioner realizes what it is to be an identity without differences, and how a liberated soul can enjoy pure awareness of this pure identity. A corporate culture should be as comfortable for a person as the aware mind is for a person.  It should be a state where people know they belong regardless of the details and work to a common goal.  Not on autopilot but fully engaged and ready.

This is known as samadhi and refers to union or true Yoga.  There is no separation created by the normal notion of “I” and “mine” control of our personal reality. Our goal should be to bring staff into alignment of what we want the company to look like.  To give the corporate culture a “name” and have each of us inside of it align to the goal of making a solid unified culture of success.

The achievement of samadhi is a difficult task for individuals.  Might be impossible for corporate cultures.  But, for this I have aligned the yoga teaching into this corporate cultural framework.  I would hope these ideas can influence mental activities and corporate alignments that create a space in the crowded market business improvement book and clases. Once you identify dharana as a goal, you can start to build, dhyana and samadhi.

The eight steps of yoga indicate a logical pathway that leads to the attainment of physical, ethical, emotional, and psycho-spiritual health. Yoga does not seek to change the individual; rather, it allows the natural state of total health and integration in each of us to become a reality.  My challenge to the world is to make this a corporate reality.  To set a foundation where business practices can use the tried and true methods of Yoga in a business context creating a corporate culture that is based on success not experiments.


In short; corporate culture is often the last thing we think of or educate our business leaders on.  Beyond features and functions, tasks and duties lay roles and responsibleness.  Foremost among them should be creating corporate and business cultures that align opportunity and revenue.  I am not saying this is to be judgmental or even moralistic which Yoga is obviously bias towards.  If your business is naturally exploitive of human or natural capital, that is your corporate culture.  If you feel that profit and waging war such as in corporate raiders is your culture, then be fully aligned to it.  Just be a leader and teach your culture in a way that makes it happen.  Change the Yoga names to corporate friendly names and you have a tried and true formula for success.  Complicated?  Yes.  Why?  because for all our history creating corporate cultures is still undefined and green field opportunities.

Asana can become our way to train our mental attitudes and strengthen our will as we learn to let go and move into the state of power that comes from creating balance between our individualist world and corporate culture building experience.


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